Monday, July 18, 2011

Tales from the Beach | A Mostly True Story, Volume 2

A follow-up to my previous post, I'm attempting to chronicle my recent beach adventures with my college friends, to the best of my recollection, three weeks after the fact. Here is the second installment, later in the first night at AJ's bar in Destin, Florida.

They're Not Creepy At All
Beana, Mama, and I are sipping cocktails and enjoying the people watching at AJ's. At a nearby table, a fight breaks out between two girls, one of whom has crunchy-curly hair (it has been my experience that one never wants to cross a girl with crunchy curls. She has no qualms about clawing out your eyeballs.) The other chick is wearing a backless shirt that showcases her full-back tattoo of wings. I wonder whether they are meant to depict angel wings, or Pegasus wings, or even falcon wings. I will leave AJ's without answers.

As the fight breaks up, we are approached by a group of men who we soon learn are Marines. They are always Marines. Unless they're in the Air Force. One guy spills Mama's full beer all over her lap in a clumsy attempt at a handshake introduction. (Seriously, why do we shake hands in a bar? We're drinking beer. This is not the setting for a handshake).

Lance Corporal Cutie: Oh, man, I'm sorry!
Mama: It's cold!
Lance Corporal Cutie: I can't believe I did that! I'm not even drunk, I swear.
Mama: Wow. I have beer all over me.
Me: [points at Mama] It's her birthday.
Lance Corporal Cutie: Now I feel worse.
Me: [smiling] I meant for you to.

Lance Corporal Cutie buys Mama a beer. Bonus: Lance Corporal Cutie buys me a beer. We strike up a conversation.

Me: You are heavily tattooed, Lance Corporal Cutie.
Lance Corporal Cutie: Yeah, I am. [lifts his shirt to show off his ink]
Me: Does every tattoo tell a story, or am I going to find Yosemite Sam on your shoulder?

Lance Corporal Cutie reveals symbolic tattoos covering his torso, along with shrapnel scars. They're his war wounds. He tells me a harrowing tale from his last deployment to Afghanistan, where his fellow Marines saved him from a roadside bomb. Yeah, this small-talk just took a sharp turn into Serious Town, population: 2. He points out the heroic fellow Marines (who he repeatedly tells me he loves and that they're his brothers) among us at AJ's. These guys are conversing with Beana and Mama. I typically don't like when a group of guys approaches our group of friends at a bar, because I think their intentions are insincere. They strike up a conversation with the pretense that they "just want to talk to some nice, normal girls", but I don't believe that single men want to have innocent chit-chat with girls at a bar while on vacation. They're just interrupting our girl time. Maybe I'm jaded. Either way, after listening to Lance Corporal Cutie profess his undying love for his fellow Marines, I decide they're alright.

Then Lance Corporal Cutie asks me to guess his age. Why do people play this game? It's awkward, and it seems to only occur in bars. If you guess the person's age, and you guess too young, they may possibly be flattered, or they will find you absurdly insincere. If you guess too old, you've hurt their feelings or insulted them. If you guess the correct age, no matter what their age is, they're still insulted that you think they look their age, and will say something along the lines of, "Really? You think I look 28? Well, I am 28, but everyone tells me I can easily pass for 23. Hmmph. I guess not..." 

Lance Corporal Cutie: How old do you think I am? Go ahead, guess.
Me: Ugh...[eye roll]...25?
Lance Corporal Cutie: [stunned] What?! I'm 22!
Me: Oh. Well, I didn't guess "25" because I think you "look 25". It's just that I would never guess that a man of only 22 could be as worldly and experienced as you. Besides, I'm almost 30, so whether you're 25 or 22, you're still very young.
Lance Corporal Cutie: [Feigns a shocked expression] Wha--?! 29?! Nuh uh, no way! You're shitting me! I swear, I swear, I was sure that you were 22.

I smiled politely, but the conversation ended there. He was sure I was 22? Please. Even when I was 22, nobody thought I looked 22. I've been mistaken for 25 since I was 18. I always look older. Whatever. So, unless I've stumbled into an alternate universe where I'm living in some kind of Benjamin Button situation, there's no way in hell anybody thinks I'm 22. Sidenote: This is the second time in three years that I've revealed my age to somebody who is younger, and their reaction was to gasp in shock, and spend the next five minutes comforting and consoling me and assuring me that I appear much younger. I've never had a problem with my age, why do they feel they need to console me?

Having grown bored with my conversation with Lance Corporal Cutie, I'm even more grateful to see that Cara and Sally have finally arrived! Before I can do anything else, I must debrief Cara on the military insurgence at our cocktail table. Cara has a history of overzealously protecting her friends from skeezy would-be suitors. She will literally chase them off, hurling profanity and threats so they'll never come back. I decided these fellas didn't deserve the "Cara treatment".

Me: I know what this looks like, but it's all under control. We've been talking to these guys a while. They're Marines, they're 22, they're from Mississippi, they bought us drinks, and they're not creepy at all.
Cara: [incredulous] Really? What about the one who's raping Mama with his eyes?

Cara points across the table, and I turn to see Mama, smiling and sipping her beer, blissfully unaware that a man standing directly to her left is vigorously thrusting in her general direction, looking at her with an expression that is intensely dirty.

Me: Eww. I didn't know about that.
Cara: Hey buddy! [snaps fingers] You better lock it up!

Thrusting Marine ceases and desists from dry-humping Mama for the rest of the evening.

Cara and I turn our attention to the dance floor, where a Latino man is wearing tear-away pants and demonstrating some straight-up MTV Grind dance moves. Where is Eric Nies when I need him?

Out of the corner of Cara's eye she notices a highly inebriated young woman wearing a white sundress with a veil, dancing barefoot in the center of the floor.

Cara: That bride--has lost her shit.
Me: That is our sorority sister.
Cara: What? 
Me: True story. She's getting married. See all those girls in black who are holding her shoes and looking on with concern? Sorority sister, sorority sister, sorority sister. It's a small world after all, yes?
Cara: Indeed. You know, I have to hand it to the Bride. She's doing an excellent job maintaining her balance. And she looks hot.
Me: I'm concerned she's going to get splinters in her feet--oh! What--? Oh, now she's doing The Worm. That's nice.
Cara: I love everything about this.

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